United States announces clinical trial of antibody treatment for COVID-19

Eli Lilly and Company IX

Eli Lilly and Company IX

The first therapy to be studied in the Phase 3 randomized, controlled trial is Lilly's LY-CoV555, an antibody that was first detected in a blood sample from a recovered COVID-19 patient.

A stage-two study of the drug is expected to finish next month.

ACTIV-2, established by NIH's Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV), is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Operation Warp Speed.

With COVID-19 patients continuing to overload hospitals, on Tuesday, Eli Lilly, in collaboration with the NIH, announced they're trying something new: a lab-engineered treatment called monoclonal antibodies to stop the virus from spreading in the body. The company said its drug may get government approval by the end of 2020.

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Some 40 percent of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. have been linked to nursing, retirement and long-term care facilities, and, short of a vaccine, finding treatments that could save the live of countless elderly Americans and their caretakers.

Research has said that the corona virus infiltrates into human cells via spike proteins. Those patients will receive Lilly's antibody, LY-CoV555 or placebo via intravenous infusion. Lilly is developing the therapy in partnership with the privately held Abcellera Biologics. The researchers then essentially cloned the antibodies to test whether they treat or prevent disease.

"The mission of the COVID-19 Prevention Network is to conduct Phase 3 vaccine and monoclonal antibody efficacy studies for the prevention of COVID-19", said Myron Cohen, M.D., director of UNC's Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases and a CoVPN leader.

More than 40 per cent of coronavirus deaths in the United States linked to long-term care facilities creates the urgent need for therapies to prevent COVID-19 in this vulnerable population, Eli Lilly and Company said in a release on Monday.

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"COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on nursing home residents", Lilly's chief scientific officer Daniel Skovronsky said in a statement.

The Indianapolis-based drugmaker said it dosed the first participant in the placebo-controlled trial at a nursing home in IL.

Lilly is also testing other experimental antibodies and will evaluate whether combinations work better than single antibodies.

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